Let me start by saying I am a huge HUGE fan of the MGS series. From its convoluted story to 30 min video cut scenes I LOVE EVERY MOMENT. If you are thinking of getting into the MGS series, this is not the game to start on, yeah it looks good, but do yourself a favor and go get one of the Metal Gear HD collections and start from the beginning, you wont be sorry.
Game: Lets get this out of the way Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeros is, in all technicality, a $30 demo and preview of what is to come in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. The entire “story line” campaign in Ground Zeros can be beat in 2 hours or less, depending on how you play and unless you played some of the Portable MGS games you will be lost in the story. However, do not think you are paying $30 for just 2 hours of nothing, oh no, there is plenty to do in this off-shore playground to keep you busy for hours, just and works as a fantastic springboard for The Phantom Pain.
Graphics: Absolutely stunning, one of the best looking titles and character models I have seen in a long time, all of the main Mission takes place during a rain storm and seeing how the rain interacts with the environment and characters is astounding. I’m talking about seeing rain drip down Snakes face, or seeing rain bounce off the enemies shoulders in the distance, very impressive and fun to think about what is still to come. The lighting effects are some of the best I have ever see, even if a bit exaggerated, but the shine from a searchlight is spot on. Not to say the game is perfect, the amount of clipping was still fairly high, especially when carrying a body or crawling along a wall, and I would have loved to have had more options in the iDroid menu (also that iDroid would take forever to load sometimes).
Sound: This is a complete revamp of the MGS series and nothing makes it more evident than the Sound. Music is strong when you are sneaking and/or fighting, and the sound of the rain hitting different surfaces is very well done. But, don’t hold your breath to hear any familiar MGS tunes or themes, and of course the biggest change is Snake being voiced by Kiefer Sutherland. I imagine the change to Kiefer was just for the video capture or to solidify the fact that Naked Sake(Big Boss) is not the same person as Solid Snake but boy oh boy do I miss David Hayter and I was really sad to not hear his sweet sweet gruff voice. Thankfully the famous “spotted alert” is still the same.
Gameplay: If you take anything away from MGSV:GZ its how different it plays from previous MGS titles. Namely having such a wide open area, since all of MGSV:GZ takes place on one island with different terrains and buildings you do not have any loading screens or area switch times where Snake runs off screen and a new area loads. Also the way you interact with your inventory feels more like a typical 3rd person shooter loadout rather than the old school trigger holds. I actually enjoyed the changes and found my progress to be smooth and easy, but it does still feel odd and does raise some questions on whats in store for The Phantom Pain.
Just look at that smug half smile, he knows what he did haha. IBIF EXTRA: You can hear me laughing in the background
Since this is mostly a demo of things to come I’m not going to gripe about it. The main game is short and can be quickly beat but there are a multitude of side ops available after you beat the main game and they range from exciting to silly. These side ops all take place on the same island but have different scenarios and missions. They even take place at different times of day, and really shows off what, I can hope, is a working day clock (in MGSV:TPP). Replayability is also a heavy aspect as all the missions have a normal and hard setting and will even give you special requirements to complete while finishing the mission, i.e. don’t kill anyone, Find everyone, find everyone the fastest yadda yadda yadda.
Long story short if you are a major fan of the MGS series and have played all the games including Peace Walker and Mobile Missions you will enjoy your time in Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeros. If you have only played the major releases you may want to skip this one unless you are interested to see what the future of Snake holds.
Stats: Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeros is available on PS3,PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One, I played on the PS4. Time to beat “main storyline” is about 2 hours without killing anyone. Side ops and extra missions add on a little time, I played for about 12 hours before I felt like I had done everything I cared to do.